One of the core activities of the Farm Net Zero project is the development of Demonstration Farms. Led by our colleagues at the Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT), the Demonstration Farms have the target of reaching Net Zero over the course of the project. The Demonstration Farmers are:
- Andrew and Claire Brewer, Ennis Barton.
- Mike, Alison and Sam Roberts, Blable.
- Tim and Claire Williams, Erth Barton
The three Demonstration Farms held their launch events in the autumn of 2021. At each launch event, the farmers outlined how they plan to achieve this target.
Andrew and Claire Brewer milk 500 Kiwi cross cows on a grass-based system. Net Zero plans include monitoring cow performance on herbal leys compared to standard ryegrass/clover pasture and the use of woodchip bedding for calves with the potential to produce compost for application to the fields.
The Roberts’ family have 150 Stabiliser suckler cows. Much of the farm is in herbal leys, with rotational grazing used to manage the sward for optimum productivity. Cattle are housed on green waste compost; this has reduced bedding costs and produces an excellent source of fertility.
Tim and Claire Williams contract farm 300 acres of former arable land, taking ground back from the previous tenant. These fields go into a diverse cover crop and are mob grazed by cattle to add soil carbon and boost the soil biology. Compost is also a feature, with Tim and Claire making their own to apply both as a solid and liquid application and as a seed dressing.
Attendance at all three Demonstration Farm events was very good, with fantastic discussions breaking out across the group. These discussions were wide-ranging and covered rotational/mob grazing, reducing fertiliser use, growing herbal leys and the use of compost amongst other topics. The discussions will be used to inform the work carried out across the Farm Net Zero project, from trials led by FCT and Innovative Farmers, to workshops for farmers to learn from one another.
To follow the progress of the Demonstration Farmers and the Farm Net Zero project, subscribe to the newsletter here: https://farmcarbontoolkit.org.uk/farm-net-zero/